by .

The afterglow of a North London Derby day win

is unmatched in football.

That was the Arteta Cup Final.

If he’d won 3 of the 4 games after the break and lost to Spurs, we’d still be in crisis. The fact he’s beaten our biggest rivals means he’ll get away with a draw at Brighton.

It’s quite simple to grasp what the fans wanted to know:

  • Can this new team play good football?
  • Can this new team hack the pressure of a big game?
  • Can this new team comprehend what the NLD means to the fans?

Seems like the answer to all three questions is unequivocally YES YES YES.

The first 45 minutes against Spurs was the best of the Arteta reign. We’ve had big wins, we’ve won cup finals, we’ve played well. But not to that degree.

We absolutely spanked Spurs. Johnny said to me pre-podcast that the goal we conceded was disappointing because it flatters Spurs.

Back to the positives. The football was sublime. I can’t remember every moment, but some things I loved.

Ben White slide tackling Harry Kane to perfection in the opening 10 minutes.

Ben White beating Kane in the air to start the move for the first goal. Good going for a midget that was going to get bullied by big strikers this season.

The off the ball movement on the counter for the first goal.

Saka and ESR creating an Hale-End production for the first goal to prove out their credentials as NOW players

Auba showing up. Working like a machine. Making the runs. Scoring a goal from a really, really tough angle


That first half was extremely effective. Nuno and his boys had no answer.

The second half was different. I think we all wanted a jugular attack, but it wasn’t forthcoming and really… the pragmatic management of the second half was correct. Arteta says that you can only feel safe with a 3 goal lead, so why fuck it against a team you cannot lose to?

We did concede a goal which was a shame, but that’s Spurs, total shite, but loaded with elite attacking talent that can kill you. There were still moments of magic and lovely bits that showed we’re moving forward.

Granit Xhaka, a player we worried about, proved out the point that he is always elite after a dumb sending off. He’s included in starting 11s because everyone at the club knows he can be relied upon. There’s trust there. Most of the time, he’ll pass well, be in the right spots, and he’ll lead like a warrior. His performance was superb all game, he started the moves for both goals, dealing with Ramsdales hospital pass in one move. Let’s hope he’s not injured.

The most ‘WHAT IS THIS’ signing of the summer was Aaron Ramsdale. Sure, he can do it on a cold afternoon in Burnley, but could he do it against Spurs in a low margins game? Yes. Yes he could. He was great with balls into the box, his passing decisions were mostly great, and he showed up with the BIG saves. Harry Kane let rip from distance and he palmed the low shot away. Then he found time to give us save of the season, tipping over a Moura deflected shot he had ZERO right to get to. Face it folks, Ramsdale is a fucking great signing and we all have to back the fuck away.

Tactical fouls is now an Arsenal thing. Auba, pleasant as apple pie, did it all game. Xhaka dropped a load and didn’t get a yellow. Sambi came on and took a yellow for the greater good. Small things that show we’re building up a bit of an edge.


I will say this quietly. I really hope Daniel Ek and Thierry weren’t there to make a hopeful statement about our manager and ownership because they thought we’d lose. That is very negative, but damn, Daniel Ek best be in Thierry’s box for the Palace game.

Anyway… on the Thierry subject. Did all three Arsenal players copy the famous Thierry knee slide?

Yes they did. How. Fucking. Awesome. The nod the past is unreal. That’s how you get the fans on side. I love it. So sharp.

We won the game 3-1 in the end.

That result felt special (Big Tone showing the way). A pivotal moment in the project. A proof point that the process is moving to the next stage.

Now we can look back on the first 3 games and give them honest context. Not having 9 players for the Brentford game was a huge issue. Most don’t realise the difference between injuries and covid. When the Arsenal squad got covid on the Friday, the plan for the week blew up. They didn’t know who would be available on the Saturday. I’m pretty sure the players weren’t even allowed to get on the coach together… so the starting 11 ran right up to the wire.

Chelsea without key players is always going to be tough. City 2 defeats on the bounce with last seasons squad and 10 men was never going to happen.

Now we can see the future and we can answer some of the borinng ‘negs’ that have hung in the air.


Well, turns out the occams razor here was that a new squad of players that doesn’t know each other might struggle to string peak Barca football with one weeks notice. Training a cognitive style of football takes time. Players don’t have an intuition for each other. It’s a learning process. Of course Norwich was going to be rough.


Post-Burnely, I took pelters for saying the passing was off, but when it clicked, it’d be better. Well, Arsenal played a better team, on cut grass, and a watered pitch and guess what… the football was MUCH better.


Well, what a moment. If you said that, I hope you’ll be sharing out the sweet-tasting humble pie today. Every summer signing moved the needle.

Ben White is a huge improvement on David Luiz. He’s fast, aggressive, very good in the air, and his passing is getting better and better. Christian Romero, cost the same, had far more Twitter love… benched.

Martin Odegaard is not average or boring. He’s a leader, his passing is superb, he presses harder than anyone, and he connects with the fans. What a dream player. I love him.

AARON RAMSDALE is a star. So many people said that we didn’t need to invest in a keeper. Who agrees with that now? No one. Aaron is the shock package of the window. He’s already a difference maker. Let’s hope he keeps progressing. No one is saying he’s a poor man’s Emi today.

Tomiyasu. Remember Sky saying he was offered to all the clubs in the league? How is he feeling about that now? Emerson Royal, benched. Tomiyasu taking more touches than anyone, dominating in the air, not letting anyone go past him. He’s just good. That’s it. A top, top player.

… but let’s talk about the big difference-maker.

The fans.

Arsenal botched the summer comms.

Now they’ve addressed it.

Arteta is pumping players and bringing fans into the process. Per told it straight, this is a transition project, but it will be good. The manager thinks these players will be powerful. The honesty with the fans has changed the dynamic in the stadium. Look at how everyone behaved after the game, the fans stayed, the players did laps, Arteta bowed down everyone, and Saka jumped the fence to give his shirt to a little girl holding a sign with his name on it. That’s how you get us on side. Think about this: Arsenal only had 3 players over the age of 24 in the starting 11, the rest were youngsters. These players are going to get much, much better. There’s not doubt. The home fans feel this, they know something special is in the air and that was before the Spurs game.

Young players need encouragement and so do older players. If we want them to get better, The Emirates needs to be electric. It has been every game this season. That is special.

Let’s also talk about the football. Mike McDonald had to tell the fans what ArtetaBall was all about, it’s the biggest story on this site. Theory alone is not enough, you need wins and good performances to keep people in belief mode. The football against Spurs was EXACTLY what we needed to see. We were dangerous in the low block. We created from structured counters. We had accurate long balls in abundance (Auba received one from Partey so good, he didn’t know what to do). Our players gave our attackers so much service they’d not had before. That was the first proper showing of where the football is going. So hold that in the mind as the season goes on.

Arteta has had a rough start to the year, but what I like is the pivot. He’s behaving better. He’s pumping the younger players. He’s commanding the press conferences with calmness. He’s bringing us along for the ride. That is what we need moving forward.

Also, because I am plugging our podcast. Matt made an elite point. Auba is the only player at Arsenal you want swagging it up. If he’s not showing off in his fancy cars, there’s an issue. He’s a showman. He needs to be showing. Check out this video.

LOVE THIS. Auba needs fans as much as the young players. This is what we’ve lacked over the last year. More please.

We have it all to do again next week, but beating Spurs is what we demand as fans. Arteta and the players understood the moment, the fans gave it their all, the result was glorious.

As for the project and the bumpy nature. That’s a learning on my part. Check out this graph Danish Gooner tweeted me.

Anyway. Enjoy the feeling today. Listen or watch our podcast. Let’s see what Paddy V has for Brighton.

Btw, the podcast is our best yet. Matt and Johnny were absolutely electric on it. If you haven’t given us a chance, download or watch it today.

P.S. Who thinks the Amazon Doco just got a bit more interesting?

Spotify | Stitcher | Google Play


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Kris

    Pierre’s comments on Wenger are spot on usually.
    Much more intelligent than Pedro’s, TBH.

    BTW, Rmasdale doesn’t need extra competition. Karl Hein is the future of Arsenal. First choice international at 19. Could be Arsenal’s first choice for a decade. He’s not English, but that should not be an obstacle.

  2. Pedro

    Kris, basically everything I said about Wenger came true and all the consequences I predicted also came true. Not sure how you can say someone that still backs him has or had more intelligent discourse than me on it.

    But each to their own…

  3. Tom

    “Thierry Henry needs to walk the fine line with this Daniel Ek thing
    It’s looking like some cheap stunt now tbh.”

    How so?
    More like a strategic move on Henry’s part hanging out with a billionaire who might or might not become a football club owner. And who might or might not need a future DoF.

    I thought Henry looked chill in his vintage Arsenal shirt sporting a a baseball cap and the $80k Audemars Piquet all star rose on his wrist.

  4. Nigel Tufnel

    DannySeptember 27, 2021 12:00:07

    What does Kane have against Gabriel? Anybody notice late in the 2nd half when Kane had a go at him? It’s like he was carrying on from where he left off last season.

    That’s an easy answer. Frustration and vindictiveness from Kane. Gabriel owns him pretty well.

    Not just against Arsenal. I watch a lot of spurs to see them fail, and often, late in games when they’ve lost, he does the fake move going for header then ducking underneath…… also goes in hard 2 footed late in games they’re losing, but they’ll never call him for that. Not the English hero.

    Was thinking the other day, what has Kane done late in any tournaments for Spurs or England? At this point I’d rather have Vardy…. but I have a strong bias.

  5. englandsbest


    Your ‘wave of a magic wand’ angle may work in Cinderella, but has no substance in reality. It was made perfectly by Arteta from the start that his emphasis was on the young and vigorous. But he had no wand to wave and lo and behold a squad of youngsters materialise. He had to find them, induct them, train them – and that takes time. Or snap his fingers, and the players who fit the profile are there, boots on, ready to go. And that is even if he had a billion pounds to spend.

    Artesta is honest and forthright and fair-minded, and no doubt he told the players he inherited his intentions. And no doubt he said to them, ‘Okay, show me what you can do. Impress me and I’ll keep you.’ Some tried hard, were honourable. Others – like your darling Ozil – did whatever they could to disrupt him.

    So, two years on, we are looking at a young, vibrant, committed squad that makes most of us proud to be Arsenal supporters. I tell you that is not the way I felt in the last years of Wenger. Nor in the days of Emery.

  6. Gonsterous

    Morning all

    Still buzzing from the win. Watching the highlights every time it’s on the telly.

    Though I agree with whoever said that we need to have the win at all cost mentality in every game.

    We can’t have that mentality for just 2 games in the season, because it will be a real shame if we turned over the spuds last weekend only to get a draw at Brighton the following week.

    We need more instinctive and direct play, with less of arteta on the touchline trying to instruct the players into the opposition goal

  7. GuNZ

    Been an age since I posted on here but I am absolutely delighted with the NLD result.
    Son-in-law is an Eagles supporter: Palace! Palace! Who the @#$% is Palace?
    Hopefully at least a point against Brighton next. Feeling vaguely optimistic (or, more accurately, non-negative) for the first time in a while.

  8. Sammy

    And a quick shout-out to Pierre who happens to be the most insightful poster on here ( when he is not talking about Ozil of course!) lol

    Then for AFC , you need to tone down and be less subjective in your analysis of the current state of Arteta’s Arsenal. Even the almighty Guardiola didn’t get it right initially and as a result took a hammering from both city’s fans and the media (remember the fraudiola nickname anyone?). So why should Arteta, who doesn’t have half of Pep’s pedigree be immune to criticism?
    All the criticism coming Arteta’s way so far has been deserved (no matter how positively you spin it, consecutive 8th place finishes is a sackable offense in itself, then there is the Villarreal disaster class, favoritism of some certain senior players and the poor management of some young players which tanked their value). It’s now up to him to make this team play consistent progressive football and take us right back to the top end of the table. I have nearly lost all belief in him, but I’m an optimist and will give him more time to show us the special sauce that got him the job in the first place.

  9. kjelli

    It was painful watching Palace lose two points last night because the goalie made the wrong
    decision with his last kick !! Only love and football can break your heart ”
    Zaha is going downhill it seems and only playing for himself

  10. JP

    Interesting to see the Ramsdale comment before the game that he and Ben White know each other from when they were 18 and both living on the south coast and used to hang out with each other.

    Wonder if knowledge of that relationship was a factor in going so strong for the both of them.

  11. Daniel Altos

    Late to the party…my phone got robbed as I was cebrating our win lol.Top top perfomance by the boys on sunday,would be nice if that was the new norm,heck even auba was winning headers. More of that please.

  12. shaun

    It’s clear Brighton will be a real test and much more than the spuds .Watching them last night they are very organised, very fit but hopefully they will be missing Bissouma for our game as well. This is where Lego head will earn his money as both Palace and Brighton have better , more experienced Coach’s who are actively coaching modern footballing philosophies .These guys have there teams playing to there style and the setup they want is there for all to see. Arteta is playing catchup to these guys for a number of reasons , in my opinion his man management is the biggest issue and this non negotiable bullshit he undoubtedly learnt from Pep is the biggest killer for him .It is clear his relationship with Auba is much much better .After we hear Auba calling for a meeting with the players and obviously telling Arteta the micro management has to stop and the players have to be able to express them selves and have a certain freedom to take risks for reward without being chastised or getting there head chopped off if it goes wrong. Arteta looks black and white to me and has real difficulty in managing the intangible side of the game and unfortunately a large part of player performance is the mental side .We here Arteta keep saying it is his job to get the best out of the players and give them the best platform to perform but for me this is where i think Arteta is really really poor and most of the reason I want an experienced manager in charge as I really don’t think Arteta was getting any where near the best out of the squad he had available .Lets see now how Arteta and his team performs away to who I believe is a better more experienced manger Arsenal squad quality and talent is much much more than Brighton in my opinion so Arsenal supporters should expect three points or not ?

  13. Jamie

    Yikes. Pierre is bang on the money – the youth project started this summer, and he’s right to call out AFC Superfan and EB when they try to gaslight everyone into thinking this was the plan all along.

    Since his arrival, he’s tried to bin AMN, Nelson, and Eddie.

    He signed Cedric, Mari, Willian, extended Xhaka, Luiz, Auba, loaned in Ryan and loaned out Saliba and Guen.

    Had be gone balls deep in project youth from the outset, we’d be 2 years further along in the project by now. Hopefully we’re finally on the right track and can look forward to this young squad putting up some more sexy performances like we did on Sunday.

    Aside, Pepe is a square peg in a round hole if we want to keep seeing incisive one-touch football going forward. 9 times out of 10 he slows the attack to a standstill by constantly cutting back on his left peg.

    His touch, passing range, and vision are pretty poor, and he takes too many touches while he tries to figure out what he’s going to do next, let’s be honest. He strikes me as a shitter version of an inverted Walcott who, if nothing else, was direct. Both decent finishers though.

    We need to beat Brighton any which way to keep this forward momentum going. coyg

  14. AFC Forever


    Arteta is an experienced coach who is highly rated. he took a lot of the City sessions and is very highly spoken of by the City players. It should also be pointed out that he has substantial experieince as a player in the Premier League, something few managers can say. Now I would agree he is a novice as a Manager and that is something only working as a Manager can correct. has he made mistakes, hell yes just as everyone does. It is worth pointing out that Spurs reached a Champions League final and shortly after sacked their manager, replacing him with a ‘guaranteed trophy winner’ in Mourinho. That worked well.

    I said from day one that in my opinion the job he took on was a nigh impossible one. He had an unbalanced squad, players misbehaving and a group of players that had let successive managers down and had been regularly criticised by the fans. To say we couldn’t defend as a team would be a massive understatement. Despite his inexperience as a Manager, he coached the team to be better without the ball and won the FA Cup. That showed he had something. Last season I wrote on here about compromise football – being unable to play the way he wanted because he didn’t have the players who could do that. That was evident at the back where ball progression was slow, ponderous and bad decisions were being made. So what did he do? He bought in players who could play the way he wanted and then fans criticised him. Players like White and Ramsdale were abused before they had even kicked a ball. To come on here after those players have played one and a half games and want to change the manager is bizarre thinking. Managers have their own style and that means massive upheaval again and a backward step. We have to give him a chance with the players he has signed, his players. Players profiled to fit into his systme of positional play based on movement and speed with the ball back to front. Something we saw a glimpse of Sunday with the goals. The speed we played through transition would not have been possible last season or during the first three games of this season. You have every right to dislike Arteta but you have to accept that we have 8 new players who have been profiled to fit into the gris=d based, highly tactical position based game. That will take time to develop because players have to learn and integrate with their team mates. However, the energy and pace on Sunday should inspire more confidence than what we saw last season and if we can do that after just a couple of games together, we surely have good reason to expect regular progression, along with the occasional bump in the road. Arteta Out should be forgotten while we have young players adapting to his style of play and we have seen the results of that. Nobody in their right mind would sack him now he has finally bought in a group of players who suit his tactical plans, that would be madness.

  15. Ashwin Gunner


    In my opinion Kane is highly overrated. He is an average player. English press has made him the next Pele. In reality, he isnt good enough. Its just hype around him. Did you see the lunge he made on Saka just before the 3rd goal. His feet was in the air. Saka was very lucky that his aim is as shitty as his team, otherwise that could have been a career threatening injury.

  16. AFC Forever


    “Yikes. Pierre is bang on the money – the youth project started this summer, and he’s right to call out AFC and EB when they try to gaslight everyone into thinking this was the plan all along.”

    I’m going to try my best to be nice nice. This blog has been a nicer place without the toxicity some of you are intent on spreading.

    I have never said he had a youth policy from day one. Never once said that. As you know. You have lied as you tend to do when your argument is weak. I have said it about this season because anyone who thinks otherwise when you look at the age of the signings needs help. I’m pleased too, young players bring an energy and don’t carry old baggage.

    Go back to what I said last season about compromise football and the need for Arteta to sign players who can perform in his preferred system. I said it regularly and was abused for it – because I didn’t know what I was talking about – after all I’m just a silly little Superfan. I said he would have to cull the squad and bring in players who could play his way, especially at the back. When he did what I said he should do, the players he signed were criticised by the likes of you. That is on you mate, not me. We all make mistakes and a big man takes it on the chin, instead of digging a hole and making themselves look bloody stupid. No amount of insults can replicate a ladder Jamie, especially a ladder the size of the one you need.

  17. Ashwin Gunner


    Reg the comment to keep a stable starting 11 to make Auba fire. That is wrong. We should not.

    ESR is injury prone, Saka if overplayed will go down the Wilshere road. Auba needs to get his rhythm with all the players behind him.

    I remember Ferguson never chose the same 11 in consecutive matches. That is how i believe it should be. All the players should gel with each other and it will keep the soft tissue injuries at bay.

  18. AFC Forever


    “Aside, Pepe is a square peg in a round hole if we want to keep seeing incisive one-touch football going forward. 9 times out of 10 he slows the attack to a standstill by constantly cutting back on his left peg.His touch, passing range, and vision are pretty poor, and he takes too many touches while he tries to figure out what he’s going to do next, let’s be honest”

    This I agree with. I said the other day that the main problem with Pepe is his predictability. There is no question he has ability but Saka showed what you need to play in an inverted way. Saka goes both ways, naturally, Pepe doesn’t. Can he learn it, I’m not convinced because he has been here a few seasons now and I can’t say a lot has changed.

  19. AFC Forever


    “ESR is injury prone, Saka if overplayed will go down the Wilshere road. Auba needs to get his rhythm with all the players behind him”

    Good point. It’s not that ESR is injury prone it is that his body is still maturing. You are right, you have to be able to recognise when it is time to rest players. Luckily we don’t have European football so our players have a full week, in most cases, to recover and train.

    On rotation On the one hand we have a young group who have never played together before. That was the first time that team Sunday had started, so we have to try to play them regularly to build rhythm and partnerships, while becoming more familiar with the Positional Play system of Rondo.. Football becomes largely instinctive, players get a sense of movement which makes them move the ball quicker. The grid based positional game makes it easier in many ways to rotate because of the interchange based on ‘position’ like City, without too much disruption. You are right, keeping players fit is essential and sensible rotation, facilitating recovery periods is necessary.

  20. raptora

    TH14 is talking about Ek. It feels like they went to the stadium because they wanted to remind of themselves, regardless of a win or a loss.

    I don’t agree with the notion that they were there to launch an attack after a potential loss to spuds. It was maybe on their mind to drop some tough, painful truth bombs to add some extra pressure on the Kroenkes.

    But were they going to do it in an effort to hurt us, the fans? Just the opposite.

    They are trying to take over with the desire to make us a top club again. Or that’s at least what they are saying. Should we believe them or not? I believe we should hear them and their plan. I am more willing to believe as the amount of absolute club legends in Ek’s box should be a warranty for their intentions. But they are saying that they want the best for our club and I don’t see a reason not to listen to them.

    Although I don’t hate the Kroenkes, I assume that all of us would want a more ambitious owner, one that would actually crave titles and big European nights. Not one that doesn’t even turn the TV on to watch us, one that god knows how many years ago was his last live Emirates game, one that has us as a business warranty, just another way to make more money and nothing more.

    I’m not even questioning the money we’ve spent in the last years. It’s been enough. I’m questioning the desire, the passion, the relentless crave to make us a top club again.

    Henry is talking about the whole thing taking a very long time. We’re talking about years probably. The situation might change. The situation might not change.

    I can’t know for certain if Ek and friends are the real deal. But I don’t know if they are not either. And I’m willing to listen to them. There is no chance that Arsenal can bankrupt as there will always be billionaires willing to put some money in an institution as big as ours. But we might just get a proper owner. One that we’d be proud to have. A real gooner.

  21. joel

    After 18 months of “trial and”, largely ,”error” Arteta finally matched up his team selection,to formation and to tactics.
    Essentially playing a fluid 4-2-3-1 instead of a lumbering 4-3-3 with a major disjoint between the two 3s.
    Hopefully,Arteta has finally seen the light and will cease his indecisive “chopping and changing” and largely stick by these players who can best be relied upon to more decisively move Arsenal in the right direction and look like a team which might just be more than the sum of it’s parts….meaning that Arsenal supporters can once again enjoy watching their team play.

  22. Emiratesstroller

    Sunday’s performance and team selections were a major positive, but it also highlights perhaps the weaknesses in our squad.

    Let’s consider first the defensive/central positions in the team. These are allocated to Partey and Xhaka. This could be an excellent partnership.

    However, Partey is injury prone and Xhaka sustained what could be a serious knee injury. We can probably replace one of these players by bringing in Lokonga who looks to be an excellent prospect, but not both.

    Another concern is that in January we will lose four players to Africa Cup. Partey, Aubameyang, Pepe and Elneny will be playing in that competition. Elneny is no great loss
    but the other three are.

    One final point is that in the January transfer window Arsenal will almost certainly attempt
    to shift out players who are in final year of contract. Those are Lacazette,Nketiah, Elneny and Kolasinac.

    Lacazette would be the obvious replacement for Aubameyang and Nketiah to sit on the bench.

    Our midfield resources will be waifer thin particularly if Partey and Elneny are not available.
    Also there could be bad news about Xhaka’s injury.

    Whilst we seem to have some academy players such as Patino who could sit on the bench or
    even play in starting lineup that is only realistic if they have an experienced partner playing
    alongside them.

  23. AFC Forever


    Nice post.

    The cynic in me tells me they put their hands in their pockets to increase the value of the business and to appease the fans after the ESL debacle. The latter probably tells you everything about the boardroom because if there had been a genuine football supporter or Gooner in that room, there is no way that Super League nonsense would have progressed past the initial conversation stage. Whatever the real intentions of EK, what we do know, according to Henry, is the Kroenkes haven’t even bothered to respond which tells you they are going nowhere. This is a prestigious club to own, they won’t relinquish it easily.

  24. shaun

    AFC Forever , I respect your opinion an your argument is logical .I don’t really have any interest in what City or City players have been saying about Arteta . I am much more interested in Arteta current performance and how he has Arsenal players performing now as you say he largely has his players available so now he needs to go to Brighton and take the points .We have better players more resources and we should be beating Brighton and we definitely should not be subjected to teams like Villa and wolves coming to the emirates and back dooring us .the first half against the spuds was class .The second half i thought we needed better game management and a more experienced manager would have finished spurs properly .instead spurs changed to gain control an Arteta effectively did nothing except drop off , so I did not think that was great from Arteta and risky and on another day that kind of mismanagement could be costly .I want him to prove he deserves the job more than say a potter or Veira

  25. AFC Forever


    We have such a good group of young players, thank god that idiot isn’t around them. Guendouzi could end up ruining his career with his behaviour..

  26. Rich

    KSE had to invest this summer, they had no choice

    I thought we’d spend £200 million, and had we managed to clear out a few more, I suspect we would have

    We wanted Abraham, but that was impossible with Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nketiah, Martinelli, Balogun, on our books

    We’ve got a first team squad of 27, which is far too big with no European football

    Numerically we could cull 4-5 players, without the need for any replacements

    We need to be careful with the African cup in midfield + attack, we lose 50% of our midfield quartet, and 2 attackers

    We could still let go of Kolasinac, and towards the end of January, loan out Balogun, sell one of Lacazette or Nketiah if Nketiah won’t renew, and there’s money on the table

    Everton apparently want Niles, and we could let go of Chambers if there were any permanent deals or loans leading to a permanent deal

    That would leave

    Ramsdale, Leno
    Tomiyasu, Cedric
    Tierney, Tavares
    White, Holding
    Gabriel, Mari
    Xhaka, Elneny
    Partey, Sambi
    Odegaard, Smith Rowe
    Saka, Patino
    Martinelli, Pepe
    Aubameyang, Nketiah/Lacazette

    That should be enough depth playing mainly just 1 game a week

  27. Gonsterous


    I don’t think this investment will be enough.
    We should learn by now that youth alone can’t win anything major.

    We have a good young core of players, now we need 2 experienced players in their prime in the starting line up

    One for midfield, so the likes of lonkonga are not too burdened and can have someone to rely on when injuries hit other senior players and one CF/winger.

    This makes the team stronger and the young guns that can’t swim will be weeded out. Of course, we will need fair judgement from the manager.

  28. Leedsgunner


    Yep, I used to think we were virtually giving him away at £11m but it’s probably for the best… to have him as someone else’s problem.

  29. Kris

    Arteta apologists again going hard on Guendouzi who is loved at Marseille by both the fans as well as the coach who starts him every single week.
    Because he reportedly said something to a teammate in a tone that the said teammate reportedly did not appreciate. They call it “antics”.
    Could not make this shit up.

    Also, good one, Andy.
    The only bad news about Xhaka’s injury would be if it’s for more than 3 months because Partey and Elneny will be in Africa. in Jan.

  30. LoveSausage

    I’ve said it before, Guen is Balotelli mark 2.

    The funniest thing about his fan club on here is that a lot of them are the same people who can stand Xhaka. To me, they’re the same type of player

    – Unafraid to get stuck in
    – Unfazed by criticism

    – Stupid
    – Slow and technically limited
    – Think they’re being “leaders” because they’re yelling a lot
    – Lots of sideways passing
    – Few to no goal contributions

    I don’t get it. Guen is one of the very few things Arteta got right in his first 20 months in charge.

  31. Dissenter

    Players “almost” fight in training all the time’.
    Didn’t Ceballos and Eddy square up in public in pre-match warm-ups last season.
    Please stop the campaign of calumny against a kid you hardly know, a player who’s essentially out of the club.

  32. Pierre

    From the link

    “Transfermarketweb reports that Gerson almost squared up to the Arsenal man, but Pape Gueye intervened to separate both of them before other teammates came on the scene.”

    So basically nothing happened and it’s just another media bullshit story to drive a wedge between Guendouzi, rhw fans and the club..

    Would love to see Guendouzi come back,, he has a passion for the game that i like, plus he is a very good footballer…

    Passion on and off the football pitch has been in short supply for a few years now and whay i am seeing now is a new breed of younger fans attending games that bring passion off the pitch which will feed down to the players on the pitch..

    An Arsenal crowd 100% behind the team is a sight to behold,

  33. Pierre

    It made me smile at the weekend when for the first time since he has been at Arsenal, Xhaka chased down the keeper and on doing so had to call for the trainer after collapsing through fatigue, which then led to him being injured as he should have been substituted after his superb lung busting attempt to close down the keeper.

  34. LoveSausage


    We all know Matteo as much as we know any other player that’s being praised and criticised here. The only campaign I see is the one where the club is being criticised over wasting this supposedly great talent and future leader.

    Leadership isn’t about yelling, insulting opponents or doing stupid two-foot tackles. It’s about being a consistent performer, not buckling under pressure and holding yourself and your team mates accountable. Matteo could only be considered a leader in a Dyche / Big Sam team.

    Arteta’s man management leaves a lot to be desired but he got this one right.

  35. Rich


    I agree that Guendouzi falling out with his teammate is a storm in a teacup, this type of handbags happens at every club

    Not sure you should be preaching to anyone about agendas and campaigns though….

    Stones and glass houses spring to mind…..

  36. TheBayingMob

    That was a great first half to watch, we pummeled them and it was a joy to see Saka’s and ESR bury their chances. If you to be slightly mealy mouthed about it, you would say that it was aided and abetted by a terrible Spurs performance, but fk that, I’m not having it … we were irresistible. For a long time all I’ve ever wanted to feel is excited about the team and club. For me personally, we don’t have to be winning stuff, would be wonderful to see us back in the CL if it meant we were going to compete and not be embarrassed by Bayern in the last 16 every other year; a season in which a) I’m excited about the team, b) we roll Spurs over, c) we roll United over away and d) we roll Liverpool over away would be perfect.

    c) and d) maybe too much to ask this season, but after Sunday I feel 180 degrees from the last international break where it seemed a mid to lower table slog was more on the cards than anything else.

  37. Raulishuss

    Most people defending guen just want to do so cuz they dislike arteta. Nothing to do with the club as guen is an average player and we have a far far better player in sambi plus we sold a far more accomplished player in willock who is actually having a monstrous season tactically(his defensive number is the best in europe) but it doesn’t fit the agenda so….

  38. TheBayingMob

    “guen is an average player”

    I have to admit, I never saw anything that complimented the hype around him. Passionate, ye … lot’s of running around with passhun, ye … maybe I just didn’t look hard enough but there didn’t seem to be a lot outside of that apart from being a nutcase

  39. Nelson

    Granit Xhaka could be sidelined for up to two months after suffering knee ligament damage in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Sp*rs

    Now we can focus on other issues.

  40. Leedsgunner

    Looking ahead to January we need to be planning our transfers now so that we can make the push for European places in the second half of the season.

    As I’ve said previously in January, our transfers out will be important.

    Any sales proceeds should be ploughed back into the club, to two positions look very vulnerable… perhaps we could fulfil one and fulfill the other; the two positions being striker and DM.

    DM is going to look light because Xhaka is now reportedly out for two months plus… and Partey will be missing after the new year representing Ghana in the African Cup of Nations.

    If we make any sales in January I personally would like to see the club spend the money bringing in another defensive midfielder.

    If we are going to go young again, somebody like Ryan Gravenberch, Maxence Coqueret, or Sander Berge should be possible… and if we are pushing for European places, Arsenal should be an attractive destination to them.

    Obviously if Bissouma is available we should bid for him but I wonder if Brighton will allow him to go so soon after they lost White?

    Declan Rice would be good but West Ham would want ridiculous money for him… the same with Kalvin Phillips. Although playing with the likes of Saka, White and Ramsdale would be a draw. I reckon they would want Grealish amount of money…

  41. Samesong

    It made me smile at the weekend when for the first time since he has been at Arsenal, Xhaka chased down the keeper and on doing so had to call for the trainer after collapsing through fatigue, which then led to him being injured as he should have been substituted after his superb lung busting attempt to close down the keeper.

    That was hilarious.

  42. LoveSausage

    Only desperate clubs sell top players in the January TW and Brighton hardly need money after selling White. This will be a tricky one. Maybe go after one of the French clubs?

  43. englandsbest

    Stan has said he regards Arsenal as a kind of family heirloom to be passed on to his kids. Whatever else, Arsenal is the jewel in his cluster of sports enterprises. A truly global sports club, with millions of fans worldwide and a fabulous history that stretches back more than a century, an innovator at the forefront of the world’s most watched (and probably played) game. None of which can be said about any of his other sports enterprises, including LA Rams.

    My impression is that Stan has at last (perhaps through Josh) comprehended the true dimensions of Arsenal, has come to realise that owning Arsenal is more of an obligation than a possession. The need to hand it on improved during his tenure.

    In other words, only a financial catastrophe might force him to sell the Club.

    Is that good or bad?

    For years I said Stan was the worst possible owner. But at very point I hoped he would change his tune, that he would realize and fulfil his obligations. Call me an optimist, but I fancy he has. Certainly summer’s transfer expenditures suggests that he has. And the appointment of a manager with a long-term aim points in that direction.

  44. LoveSausage


    I hope you’re right. My problem with the Kroenkes has always been their lack of football knowledge and the fact that their experience comes from closed leagues where their teams are protected against failure. Compared to that, football is much more brutal.

    On the flip side, no one can accuse them of not investing. Compare them to Man United’s parasite owners and all of a sudden Stan doesn’t look too bad.

    I just rewatched All Or Nothing with City and one of my big takeaways was how competently they’re run top to bottom. We’re amateurs in comparison. Where’s our Khaldoon, Txiki et al? If the Kroenkes could hire a management team that’s results-focused and competent, and continue their investment pace, I think they would be one of the better owners in the league.

  45. Leedsgunner

    With Xhaka injured now for two months — AMN has the opportunity to stake his claim in his preferred position and show why he needs to play ahead of Elneny.

    I really hope he takes it!

    Sambi has suddenly become very important too. I hope our squad depth holds out!

    Perhaps Patino will get his first team debut sooner rather than later…

  46. China1

    2 months for Xhaka?

    Get serious. You can criticize every aspect of his game but his robustness is unreal. Give it 2 weeks and he’ll be back in training. 3-4 weeks out max

  47. China1

    Yeah it’s good that AMN and Lokonga both should get chances.

    I don’t wanna see el Neny but just as a rotation option for tired legs late in the game or whatever.

    But with Xhaka out and Leno seemingly confirmed as n2 we pretty much have a clear run of our strongest players without drossy teachers let favourites edging their way into the team. Last season we had Leno, Willian, auba, bellerin, Xhaka all stinking the house out on the regular. Right now if auba is finding form we have none of the above. What a difference

  48. China1

    Can speak from experience tho knee ligaments are a cunt

    I did mine 18 months ago. Returned to play twice since recovering but both times ended up in further set backs for months at a time.

  49. Leedsgunner

    If he did do his knee ligaments in there are going to be a few red faces in the Arsenal medical staff today.

    I suspect they probably didn’t think it was serious as it was because, I reckon, if they suspected any sort of serious ligament damage he would have been carried off and not allowed to walk off.

    Really really unfortunate.

    Wishing him the best… and a full recovery.

  50. englandsbest


    Even for you, a startling contradiction. In four minutes, from Xhaka as Superman to Xhaka in a wheelchair.

    Speaking from experience, it will e six weeks minimum – tho I’ll admit times have moved on since then.

  51. salparadisenyc

    Such and unlucky injury for Xhaka, knew nothing about it. Surprising he did walk off, pure adrenal flowing. Moura seemed to know it was serious before running away with goal bound Spurs.

  52. Pierre

    “Most people defending guen just want to do so cuz they dislike arteta. Nothing to do with the club as guen is an average player and we have a far far better player in sambi plus we sold a far more accomplished player in willock”

    Selling Willock didn’t make any sense as now i could see him playing in the system in saka or smith rowe inside forward position if/when injured or rested..
    Willock can turn defence into attack in a split second with his pace and strength , plus of course he is a goal scorer….no one can convince me that selling willock is good for the club.

    Guendouzi is /was french under 21 captain so hardly average , however as a footballer i prefer Lakonga who i think has a bit of fabregas about him, the injury to Xhaka is actually a bessing in disguise as it gives lakonga a chance to cement a place in the side and maybe draft in Patino and give game time to AMN.

  53. Dissenter

    All the best to Xhaka. Good thing, he didn’t have a complete ligament rupture.
    He’s a fast healer so who knows, 4 weeks from now, he’ll be back again.

  54. Rich


    The injury to Xhaka certainly isn’t a blessing in disguise

    Partey has completed 90 mins in only 10 league games

    Sambi is 21, I like the look of him, but he’ll need an experienced partner, we have no idea how he’ll react to regular PL football, a slower integration would have been better, particularly with an already young team

    Elneny is bang average, and Xhaka is a far superior player, in spite of his occasional brain farts

    Niles is a decent squad player, but more suited to playing right back

    Xhaka is an important player, and we’ll miss him

    This is a blow

  55. Alexanderhenry

    That game changes everything. Not just the result but the manner of the performance.

    I was on the fence regarding Arteta – he needs to achieve something this season, which is European football a minimum and hopefully top 4.
    I think that is looking very possible and at last we can see a recognisable style and vision in arsenal’s play.
    I’m cautiously optimistic.

  56. Raulishuss

    pierre willock has been a defensive beast this season coupled with his attacking sense i see him becoming a very very good box to box midfielder ala vidal in 2 to 3 years imo but it was the right move for his developement.

  57. Janky

    Kroenkes, Matteo, Xhaka.

    The Kroenkes are as near turning a corner in their ownership as Xhaka is getting faster after his knee injury.

    Xhaka played well Sunday, but he usually does when given time. As soon as we play someone that rushes him he’ll be bad Xhaka again. He’s not changed that much in the five years he’s been here. Like the Kroenkes, no reasonable expectation exists that he will.

    Matteo is a kid. Whatever else, he possessed talent. He might learn to control himself and make use of his talent or he might go the way of so many before into footballing obscurity. With all our youngsters and a manager still in teething, he hardly seems the kind of player we need for the moment we’re in, fights or no. Best guesses as to how he’ll turn out, but I don’t expect to feel all Gnabry about him. Great hair though…

    We’re all fans here, killing time on a blog with much more passion and opinion than objective truth. Pedro being the insider he is has swung and missed many times. We are all guilty of the same, and hyperbole too. I’m happy as anyone to bask in the afterglow of Arsenal and mike’s NLD success, but we’re not really in a place yet to claim success with the project. I look forward to Brighton more optimistically than at any point in his nearly two year tenure. That is improvement. Hopefully, it plays out as more evidence that we’re actually getting better.

    Game to game. At some point the project will declare itself a success or a failure, kind of like Guendouzi will, kind of like Xhaka has.

  58. Raulishuss

    Rich. Absolutely spot on. Untill we find a top class midfielder xhaka is still along with partey our best option. Sambi might be better later but he isn’t now.

  59. Leedsgunner

    Considering Newcastle hardly ever splash over £20m for a player, £22m was a very good deal for us when we sold Willock… especially with some of our youngsters like Azeez and Patino knocking on the door. If we want them to sign for the long term, we need to show them there is an accelerated pathway to the first team.

    Willock, a decent player but it was 100% the right decision to sell him.

  60. Pierre

    “Elneny is bang average, and Xhaka is a far superior player,”

    That’s a matter of opinion , I’m not so sure he ìs…i see very little difference in quality between the 2.
    Xhaka didn’t do bad at the weekend , he put himself about which is fair enough , though i thought the ref was surprisingly lenient with hin…

    The one thing xhaka does give the team is his ability in the air at set pieces, a very under rated part of his game.

    As Raulishuss mentioned earlier ., willock’s defensive numbers are the best in Europe(if true) and he has so much more to his game than Xhaka and before anyone mentions Xhaka’s passing stats , I’m sure willock could make 50 or so passes to tierney at left back to boost his passing stats…
    To keep Xhaka and sell willock is hardly in tune with the youth project is it , especially as Willock is a better player and is a goalscorer and is also now proving himself in the defensive side of the game…

  61. Habesha Gooner

    Well Xhaka is out for 6 to 8 weeks. Eventhough I don’t rate him, he was always available to play and he was robust. Now we have to hope Partey really stays fit.

    Looking for positives though it could also be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal. It will give plenty of time for Sambi and AMN to play in those 6 to 8 weeks. My hope is Sambi comes in and puts on an excellent run of form that will make Xhaka a bench player. And I am sure he is capable of it. AMN also hasn’t done too badly when he has played in a double pivot so we can use him. And Elneny can be the 4th choice midfielder.

  62. Emiratesstroller

    The Xhaka injury is bad news on three counts.

    1. Xhaka was one of three experienced players in starting eleven on Sunday.

    2. He played very well alongside Partey. So to lose him means that there will be additional
    pressure on Partey who has been injury prone recently.

    3. If it is a ligament injury it may well take longer than two months to heal and we may not
    see him again before the New Year.

    It highlights what I said previously that we need another experienced defensive/central
    midfielder in squad particularly with Partey and Elneny playing in Africa Cup in New Year.

  63. englandsbest

    Maitland-Niles is an athlete, an all-rounder able to perform well in a variety of roles. That kind of versatility is a blessing for a manager but can be a disadvantage for the player. Let’s hope that Arteta gives him the opportunity of showing us what he can do in midfield. No fireworks expected from him, but no disappointment either.

  64. Janky


    Partey is the constant. When he’s playing well, the player next to him always looks better. He’s just that good. Xhaka with Partey is not the same as Xhaka with Elneny.

    I know he’s young, but it Partey can stay fit, Sambi has looked good next to him as well and certainly seems to possess more potential than the rest of our options. Hopeful stuff to be sure, but I totally agree, it might be another happy accident kind of situation.

  65. Rich


    I was pushing for Willock to get a run of 10-15 games at the start of last season.and was told almost unanimously that “He’d never be good enough”….

    I like him and think he’ll develop into a top player, but he’s not a deep lying midfielder in a possession based team, he’s a No8, or an inverted wide player

    He’s 22 and needs to play regularly, if he wasn’t going to get that at Arsenal, then he’s made the right move for his career moving to Newcastle

    Football is often about timing and styles, I remember Wenger saying that for the vast majority of players, it’s about choosing the right club, and there’s just a small group of players who are that good, it doesn’t matter where they go, they’ll be a success

    At Arsenal Willock was a small fish in a big pond, at Newcastle he’ll be a key player, who’ll do very well in a counter attacking team, who have less of the ball, he’ll get the opportunity to develop well there

    Odegaard stylistically is a better fit for Arsenal, at Madrid he was a small fish in a big pond, at Arsenal he’ll play regularly, become an important player, and develop in a way he never would as a bit part at Madrid

    Both players have made good moves for their career trajectories

  66. Leedsgunner

    I have said before, I just wonder if Nketiah is planning to sign a new contract. Arteta has a very opinion of him and considering Balogun left it late, and they both share the same agent, I can see him doing the same.

    If Eddie does, I would encourage him to go out on loan… get games under his belt, and come back more experienced and stronger. I have no doubt come 12 to 18 months time, he could stake a proper claim into the first team if he did.

    He needs to play to push on.

    Otherwise if he refuses to sign, in January, he needs to be sold… even on a discount.

  67. Gonsterous

    Injuries are just another way for a different player to make their mark.

    With an extended run, I think AMN will do well.

    Really short in midfield, and we must recruit one during the winter break.

  68. Leedsgunner

    Xhaka being injured is not a good news, even if one doesn’t like him. His injury will scare away any suitors considering a move for him in January.

    I reckon now the earliest we will be able to sell him on is in the summer… and no more than £10m at most.

  69. Dissenter

    Don’t you think you’re being a bit dramatic with the Xhaka injury
    He’s a useful player when he won’t be missed provided Partey stays healthy.
    Those 8 weeks on Xhaka injury abstensions includes two weeks of international breaks so it’s not as bad as it looks.

  70. Dissenter

    Brighton has been on the lucky side of many situations and dodgy refereeing decisions this season.
    That purple patchy has to come to an end someday, hopefully it’s on Saturday..

  71. Habesha Gooner

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Honestly, it is 2 months at most. Even if it is to the middle of December, He will be back just in time for the transfer window. On the playing side, I don’t think we will miss him that much. I think Sambi can do his job effectively. He is a better player. The only issue is his inexperience. But Xhaka has been having so many brainfarts that he looks inexperienced himself. Xhaka would be a good option to have because he is robust. In fact I wouldn’t mind him at all as a 4th choice CM. But as a starter he isn’t very good at all. I don’t think him not being available will be as detrimental as some think. Saying that, I am not happy with his injury though. I don’t wish that on anyone. I just want him out of the starting lineup on the basis of not being good enough, not because he is injured. And also AMN is an athletic player. And he didn’t do too bad at his westbrom loan in midfield. And he will be enough cover with elneny considering we will have to rotate only for the Carabao cup till then.

  72. Leedsgunner

    I personally think it will be a further 3-5 weeks before he is match fit… I would be surprised if we see him play again this side of Christmas.

    If there is a knock on effect, it’s with COVID.

    Xhaka has publicly said he is against vaccination. Therefore, by implication he was putting his teammates in danger of catching COVID from him. Now with him being away that risk is less for a whilst he is away. (Unless there are others in the squad.)

    Ironically Xhaka is putting the medical staff repairing his knee at risk. He has every right to make that choice, but I personally think it’s odd that an elite athlete would accept such risks to put him and his teammates in danger like this.

  73. Dissenter

    The medical staff treating his knee will take the same precautions they’ve taken since covid started. Xhaka is not endangering them.

  74. Janky


    I disagree about medical staff not being put at risk by people who are anti-vax.

    He’d be tested prior to any procedure, likely within 72 hours, the staff would all wear appropriate PPE, n95’s and such, whether he’s positive or no, and the exposure risk would be minimal, but it’s never zero. Particularly in surgery settings with airway instrumentation.

    Not being vaccinated moves it much further from zero than it has to be.

    Patients can also test negative when they are indeed positive. Latency between infection and test being positive, quality of test administration, again, minimal but not zero. This scenario is particularly fun, because with a negative test in place not all providers may choose to wear fully protective gear. Fact.

    Why one wouldn’t get vaccinated is the interesting thing here. Covid is certainly not likely to cause an elite athlete like Xhaka any major issues, but I would assume St-Maximin felt the same way. The large numbers of people around him, both in club and out, are the real issue. Many aren’t elite athletes, have pre-existing conditions, and are at great risk if they contract the virus. Fear of what exactly motivates someone as healthy as Xhaka to avoid the vaccine when by any reasonable expectation the virus, though low risk to him, is much, much more likely to cause him trouble physically whilst at the same time putting all around him at higher risk than if he himself were vaccinated. Curious.

    The paucity of risk to Xhaka in getting the vaccine makes the decision to avoid it something of a window into his mind. Whether the way it appears to me is true or not, it certainly is in line with the actions of the man we see on the field.

  75. LoveSausage

    Anyone else watching CL? Pep is galaxy braining the shit out of their game. They should be beating this PSG side by 3-4 goals. But who needs proper strikers, right?